Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disorder that arises when your in-built immune system erroneously attacks your healthy joints and tissues. It targets the linings of your joints like wrists, knees, shoulders, and ankles.
Among the many orthopaedic conditions, this is a particularly damaging one. Rheumatoid arthritis can eventually lead to bone deformity, bone erosion, and in severe cases, it can affect critical organs like the eyes, heart, kidneys, lungs, bone marrow, and blood vessels.
It also makes you vulnerable to other diseases and health problems like:
- Cardiac issues leading to blocked arteries
- Damaged lungs that can cause breathing difficulties
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (damage to the nerve that controls your hand movements)
- Lymphoma (blood cancer)
- Rheumatoid nodules (formation of bumps of tissue)
- Osteoporosis (debilitated bones)
Another recent addition to this list is COVID-19. If you are suffering from an autoimmune condition or receiving treatment for the same, you are at a higher risk of picking up infections like COVID-19.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause symptoms like:
- Joint pain
- Tender joints
- Loss of joint function
- Stiffness, especially in the mornings
- Loss of appetite
Living with these symptoms is highly stressful. Consult a rheumatologist specialist to know about the necessary test/tests for rheumatoid arthritis treatment options.
How Do You Reduce Rheumatoid Arthritis Inflammation?
Currently, there is no defined cure to treat this condition. Clinical studies and orthopaedic experts say that early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help to manage inflammation.
Following are some of the ways to ease the inflammation:
Regular exercise is an effective way to strengthen your joints and muscles. Find time for walking, swimming, yoga, which are excellent forms of exercises. At the same time, do not indulge in sports that can exhaust and damage your joints and muscles. You can consult a physiotherapist to know how to reap maximum benefits and minimise pain.
Taking a rest can relax your strained muscles. Get ample rest, connect with friends to relax, bring lifestyle changes, and sleep for a minimum of 8 hours.
Include omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, mackerel, almonds, walnuts, fish oil supplements), antioxidants (fresh vegetables and fruits, green tea), and fibre (whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables). Also, include flavonoids (broccoli, soy, green tea, grapes, berries), which are plant components that can help reduce inflammation. All these are tremendously beneficial because they contain anti-inflammatory elements.
- Trigger foods:
While you plan your diet, avoid foodstuffs that can worsen the inflammation. Fried meats, sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol are some of the examples.
- Massage therapy:
You can also take the help of massage therapy. Depending on your requirement, you can make an appointment with a trained therapist or request a family member to give you a light massage. This method can reduce pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
It is a commonly used method to treat pain. Today there is laser acupuncture which uses lasers instead of needles. It can effectively lessen inflammation.
- Heat and cold:
You may get some short-term relief by applying heat or cold packs on the sore area. Local application of ice packs can comfort inflamed joints, and a hot water bath soothes pain and stiffness.
- Lemongrass essential oil:
Several essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties. Lemongrass oil is specifically beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis. Before applying the oil, it is important to dilute it. Also, do a skin check to see if you are allergic to it.
There are different types of medicines used.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – Help slow the progression of this disease and prevent further harm to joints and tissues.
- Biologic agents – Also called biologic response modifiers, these prove effective mostly when combined with conventional DMARDs.
- Targeted synthetic DMARDs – If the above types of DMARDs fail to yield any results, then these are used.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Give relief by alleviating pain and inflammation.
Your doctor may advise you to visit a physiotherapist, who can suggest exercises to improve your range of motion. You can also get tips to perform your routine activities without putting a lot of stress on your joints. Explore medical supply stores and catalogues to find suitable assistive devices such as a handgrip, button hook, electric toothbrush, lightweight cookware, etc.
If medications and therapy do not deliver the expected results, your doctor may consider surgery. The below procedures can prove fruitful:
- Tendon repair – to restore the tendons around the affected joint.
- Joint fusion – if replacement is not possible, this technique is used to realign or stabilise the joint.
- Total joint replacement – to remove the joint’s damaged parts and replace them with prosthetic components.
- Synovectomy – to remove the inflamed lining.
Undoubtedly, these approaches can indeed give you freedom from inflammation and pain. However, your doctor is the best person to determine which one will work best for you.
Plan your rheumatology diagnosis treatment to enjoy maximum relief from this chronic disorder. Get treated by the best rheumatologist in Coimbatore, who can guide you about all possible treatment options. Visit the website to access all the relevant information about the hospital’s services and find the best doctor for rheumatoid arthritis.